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Gaia and the colonization of Mars.

Gaia and the colonization of Mars.

The Gaia hypothesis states that the atmosphere, hydrosphere, surface sediments, and life on Earth behave dynamically as a single integrated physiological system. What has been traditionally viewed as the passive environment is a highly active, integral part of the gaian system. Aspects of the surface temperature and chemistry are regulated by the sum of life, the biota. Formulated first by James E. Lovelock, in the late 1960s, the Gaia hypothesis has been in the scientific literature for more than 25 years. Because of its properties of exponential growth and propagation, life is a powerful geologic force. A useful aspect of the Gaia idea is that it requires integration of scientific disciplines for the study of Earth. The recently touted Earth system science is broadly parallel with the gaian concept of the physiochemical regulation of Earth's surface. We discuss here, in a gaian context, the colonization of Mars by Earth organisms. Although colonizing Mars may be impossible, its accomplishment would be exactly equivalent to "the reproduction of Gaia by budding."

Margulis L, West O. 1993

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